Help With Falcor's Medical Bills

$11,125 of $11,880 goal

Raised by 163 people in 10 months
Created November 6, 2017
Our beloved little Falcor has been very sick and was close to dying.  His human Wonder Russell has been heart broken.

A few things about Wonder:

1. Falcor is her baby.  Her Horcrux.  Her Road Dog.  She would do anything for him.  

2.  Wonder has supported so many people throughout the years.  Through Kickstarter, Seed&Spark and gofundme.  She's a tireless champion for so many people and never asks for a thing in return.

3.  She has a really hard time asking for help.  Which is why I'm running this campaign for her.  She needs our help.

Three weeks ago Falcor became very sick (summary below.) On top of multiple Vet ER visits, driving to Pullman to see a specialist and having almost all his teeth pulled,  Wonder has lost her job.   Her company she's been with for 9 years has folded.  Now on top of thousands of dollars of vet bills, she has lost income and is currently applying for other jobs.

She needs us.  Anything will help.  I can't think of a more giving, kind and deserving person to send a few bucks to.  

Here is the breakdown of bills:

- 9/09, South Seattle Vet, $327 (first exam)
- 9/14, South Seattle Vet, $634 (first hospitalization)
- 9/28, South Seattle Vet, $656 (hospitalized)
- 10/17, Inland Empire Vet, $360 (ultrasounds)
10/17, Pet Emergency Clinic of Spokane, $500 (first intake deposit)
- 10/18, Pet Emergency Clinic of Spokane, $959 (hospitalization)
- 10/18, Animal Eye Clinic of Spokane, $310
- 10/19, Pet Emergency Clinic of Spokane, $846 (continued hospitalization)
- 10/25 WSU Vet Medical Hospital, $2000 (initial hospitalization + tests)
- 10/27, WSU Vet Medical Hospital, $1250 (remaining hospitalization + tests)
- 10/31, South Seattle Vet, $980 (dental extractions + meds)

Total to date: $8,822

Statement from Wonder about this journey:

When Lisa told me she wanted to do a GoFundMe for Falcor's medical bills, I could have cried at her thoughtfulness. I was alone in a motel in Pullman, WA, while my best buddy, The F-Bomb, Sir Waggy, Falcor Happy Pants, my Luck Dragon, was on his most recent hospital stay. "Wonder lost her job and Falcor almost died," was Lisa's original pitch title. It made me laugh because...it's true.

About two months ago in mid September, I was at my desk at work when I realized that Falcor was acting strange. When I picked him up to give him a cuddle, he cried out in pain and I knew something was wrong. We left work immediately and went straight to our vet, who thought Falcor had possibly injured his back or his shoulder. However, a series of X-rays of his neck, back, and legs revealed no issues. "Maybe it's early arthritis," they said, while admitting they didn't see any signs of that. They sent us home with anti-inflammatories and painkillers and told me to see if he improved.

Falcor did improve, temporarily. Then he got much, much worse.

Over the next month, Falcor's health became a roller coaster. He would seem to be getting better and even act playful, and then without warning he'd, stop eating, have a day or two of diarrhea, and would continue to strain to defecate with nothing but blood coming out. He walked gingerly with his tail tucked, his back hunched in pain. I tried hand feeding him super high quality canned dog food, yogurt, peanut butter, rice made with bone broth, boiled chicken, hard boiled egg whites, scrambled eggs - any of the foods recommended to me or that I knew he liked. But instead, he hid in his travel case, turning his head away from every offer.

I once noticed something really strange: other dogs didn't want to get close to Falcor. They'd stand afar off from where Falcor huddled in his case, their necks stretched out and sniffing the air aggressively. Then they'd balk and acted afraid to come near him. I knew Falcor was dying.

This time I admitted him to a hospital with an Internal Medicine specialist. He stayed there 48 hours while they ran every test; ultrasounds, more bloodwork, more x-rays. They took needle draws of fluid from areas that looked suspicious - swollen lymph nodes, enlarged liver, even his bladder. Frustratingly, nothing came back abnormal. "Your guy is a bit of a mystery," the doctor told me.

We also got him into an animal ophthamologist in the area, thanks to WSU's animal science program. They confirmed he had uveitis, an inflammation in the eyes that had caused an ulcer in his left eye. Untreated, he could have gone blind. But nothing else made sense.

48 hours after Falcor was admitted, he seemed to recover and we went home to Seattle. But less than a week later, his symptoms were back. The lows just kept getting lower, and every time he hit these setbacks it was worse. I felt like death was closing in and I kept trying to outrace it with my credit cards.

"It's time to go to Pullman," my Mom texted me. I agreed. The teaching hospital at WSU is one of the best in the nation. After explaining his recent history, the vet on the phone said, "How soon can you be here?" I was home in Seattle and still in pajamas. My mind raced. "Five hours, maybe six so I can get gas and some food for the road?" and off we went.

Falcor spent 48 hours in the Pullman hospital. Once again we started the battery of tests: bloodwork, X-rays, ultrasounds. Needle draws of the fluid in his eyes and in his joints. They did a CT scan of his head looking for tumors and took a nasal biopsy from a cluster of inflamed tissues and cells that were causing him labored breathing. "It's almost like he's trying to breath through his mouth," the vet said. "I've never seen a dog try to inspire through his mouth."

Sure they would find a mass in his intestines, they performed an endoscopy through his mouth of his upper intestine, and an endoscopy through is anus of his lower intestine, and took biopsy samples. They found nothing. "It's actually the most normal GI I've seen in months," the vet said, obviously frustrated.

We did find one clue: the CT scan revealed dental decay that didn't show up in any of the physical exams. "That doesn't explain any of his GI distress though," the vet warned.

Since our Pullman visit, I am waiting on the biopsy results. They had been reluctant to discharge him, but after all, I had a job to get back to. I'd already taken time off for the trips to Spokane and Pullman, and I'd had to completely chancel a work trip to LA. We drove home to Seattle and got his infected teeth pulled.

Then I lost my job. On November 3, Runic Games was closed forever. That Friday was our last day. Out of work, just like that. The timing is devastating.

If you know me, you know Falcor, and he's probably touched your life in a way you won't forget. He's the most loving and sweet soul, a little adventurer who loves fetch and hiking, a buddy so well behaved you didn't know he was sleeping on my coat BACKSTAGE while I was performing theatre. He is so well loved at Runic that they put him in our game Torchlight II as the papillon pet. Falcor is only 9 years old, and the average lifespan for a papillon is 13-15 years. He's been my buddy and best friend since he was 8 weeks old.

Today, Falcor is still recovering well from oral surgery, and eating a few bites of the dog food I'm making for him at home. We're waiting on a new medication that Pullman expressly formulated for him as well as the biopsy results.
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Hey Everyone,

If you follow us on Facebook or read the last update, you probably saw the news that the last couple months, Falcor hasn't been using his left front leg, leading to acupuncture, x-rays, and inconclusive joint taps (two!).

Then on a Wednesday night at the end of January, I flew with Falcor from Seattle to Pullman, aka the smallest airport I've ever set foot in. The plane was tiny and the ride so turbulent, there was no cabin service for the crew's safety.

Falcor was scared and frantically pawing at his case that sat between my feet in the carry-on space. Since it was completely dark, I took a risk, hoping my seat mate wouldn't mind (he seemed to like dogs!) and I snuck Falcor out of his travel case and held him in my lap, tucked under my coat. He was shaking when I first held him, but soon nestled his head in the crook of my arm and calmed down.

We landed after midnight in a snowstorm, and the manager of the tiny motel in town came to pick me up in her personal minivan. Seven hours later I was meeting with a team of vets in Pullman where I had to say goodbye to my buddy as he began a full exam and biopsy surgery, and I headed back to the airport less than 24 hours after landing, to make it work in Seattle.

The biopsy took samples of bone, tissue, and fluid. About ten days later, all the test results were back: no cancer, no sepsis. That's the good news! Either of those would have triggered automatic amputation of his leg, and I was praying that wouldn't be the case.

The bad news is that the inflammation that attacked Falcor's internal organs late last year has moved into his leg, all but disintegrating the joint in his front left leg. The vets now think Falcor is fighting an autoimmune disease, but aren't sure how to treat it, since it doesn't follow any patterns they are familiar with. Based on their recommendation and though, I went ahead with a surgery to fuse his joint, created by implanting a metal plate and bone graft material into his teeny tiny leg. You can read more here: https://www.facebook.com/FalcorForever/

I've got to give a shout-out here to his internal medicine doctor at Pullman, Dr Sara Ravicini. She helped us get him quickly into orthopedics at the Pullman Teaching Hospital. She's an exceptional champion for Falcor, constantly check in and showing more care for him than any human doctor has shown for their patients, that I know of. Just incredible, and I am so grateful!

I invite you to follow more Falcor updates on his Facebook page. Lisa, my dear friend, started this GoFundMe for Falcor when I was jobless and desperate. I've now found a job, thank God, and don't feel hopeless and scared like I did when I maxed out TWO credit cards without knowing where the money would come from. We wouldn't be here without your help, and I'm truly grateful. If you feel like contributing to the costs of his surgeries and recovery, I would be honored and grateful, but I have no expectations. I'm just glad he's got a chance to stand on his own four legs again this Summer and hopefully romp after the ball like he loves.

If you want more details on arthrodesis, here's the post for you:

Thank you friends!

Wonder & Falcor

Post arthrodesis surgery
Dr Sara Ravicini
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Hey everyone! Wonder here with a Falcor update! He's been eating well and, to put it politely, eliminating normally. ;) He's on a special homemade diet of chicken, rice, and veggies, supplemented with some raw dog food from the vet.

He's doing much better! He is stable and recovering. His appetite is healthy though low, he probably eats about a quarter cup of the food, once or twice a day.

Today, he had his first acupuncture visit! He has remaining inflammation in his body, we suspect, and has also not put weight on his front left leg since Thanksgiving. We thought it might have been aggravated by so many rounds of IV's being stuck in him for days at a time, but with rest and time it hasn't gotten better. He had another X-ray that didn't reveal much at all, and because of the delicate situation with his G.I., we don't want him taking traditional pain meds or anti-inflammatories, which are likely to cause his colitis to flare back up. So acupuncture and herbs it is! ;) He got about four tiny needles in his leg today as the vet said to start slow. He was a champ about it. He has another appointment next week and we hope it helps.

Thank you so much for all your love and care! Falcor mostly hangs out on the couch and gets around a little bit on three legs, earning him the nickname Pogo. :) I am carrying him out to the potty a couple times a day to minimize his movements until we can figure out what's going on.

But the greatest thing is that he is healthier than he's been in MONTHS. He's not at death's door, he's happy to eat chicken (which he was refusing if you can imagine that), and is his good-natured self.

Your generosity helping Falcor get to where he is now, and his sustained health, is the greatest Christmas gift of all. I want you to know how grateful we are!

Wonder, Falcor, and Danger
The derp shows up every now and again
Stick a pin in me, I'm done
A meal fit for Falcor
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Dear Friends of Falcor,

Wonder here with an update! We've got some good news and bad news.

First, the good news - we exceeded the goal for his existing bills! Your generosity BLEW ME AWAY. Wherever you are, know that Lisa and I teared up on this side of the computer, seeing the love and support for little Falcor pour in. Thank you from the bottom of my heart! Thank you! Thank you forever! <3

Falcor had a great weekend and seemed like he was making a full recovery. He wanted to play and was eating well, he even stopped in to see his many friends at Actorswork for some lovin' (see the video here! https://www.facebook.com/FalcorForever/videos/10155836835029793/) :)

At the same time, thanks to YOU and amazing people like you, we raised 10k to cover his bills. GoFundMe takes 10%. so I received around 9,000, $200 more than his total bills to date. Incredible! I felt like a hundred pound weight was taken off my chest! It was also like Falcor could feel the support pouring in -- he even brought me his ball to throw for him, mere days after oral surgery.

But then, on Tuesday, he stopped eating. On Wednesday, he could barely breathe through his nose -- he started breathing through his mouth, like a fish, so we went back to the vet. (See the video here: https://www.facebook.com/wonderella/posts/10155595326455791)

They took x-rays and we left with more antibiotics and an antihistamine, which was a nightmare to force down his throat (see: not eating). Thursday morning he was worse, and we went back to the vet. This time, they admitted him and he stayed there over 24 hours, in front of a nebulizer and humidifier to help him breathe.

Today, after a consult between *that* vet and the vet he had previously seen at WSU, we transferred him to a *new* vet, SVSVet in Seattle, a group of specialists.

The first thing they're going to look for are abscesses or fistulas in his mouth following his oral surgery - it could be he has a secondary infection. The second thing they're going to check are his nasal passages with a CT scan (the X-rays are coming back fairly normal, some inflammation but not enough to go on). Lastly, they're keeping an eye on his abnormal liver values and low glucose, which, along with his enlarged liver, could mean liver failure.

These three visit, even without definitive answers or progress, sure added up:
- First visit, $346 for exam, X-rays, and medicine
- Second visit, $597 for his overnight stay, antibiotics, nebulizer, catheter, IV, etc
- Most recent visit/stay at SVSVet cost a down payment of $935, the "low end" of what they think their services will run (a high end is $1700 for the next steps).

If you've already donated, may I ask that you share this campaign with a personal word or two about why you got involved? It would mean the world to Falcor and I, and we can reach more people like you that way! :)

I'll be honest, I really thought Falcor was in the clear. He was so happy and sparkly over the weekend. I'm exhausted by this roller coaster of fear and uncertainty. Today I spent on the phone with and exchanging emails between several vets, and it was hard to even get out of bed much less change out of pajamas! In fact, I took a break to throw the ball for Danger and just put my big winter coat on over my PJ's and stood in my yard like a crazy dog lady, hucking the ball for him until he decided he'd rather eat grass. ;) The job search is going well and irons are in the fire, but I don't have any offers yet and unemployment has yet to kick in. I really need help. We both do.

Thank you all for reading this far, and for being part of Falcor's life, and my life. I hope we can turn this into a permanent success story. <3

With love,
Wonder & Falcor (okay, okay, Danger too!)

P.S. I post frequent updates on his official FB page (so fancy!) http://facebook.com/FalcorForever, and behind the scenes updates of both Falcor and Danger on my Instagram (stories, not posts, send me a message if you're not sure how to find those), at http://instagram.com/bellawonder. You're invited to follow along and see more there! <3

driving from vet 1 to vet 2
this face! that sweater! those ears!
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Hey everyone, it's Wonder with a #FalcorWatch update!

Yesterday he had a really good day - he even wanted to play with his ball and I tossed it for him 2-3 times short distances so he didn't get overly tired. He was really snuggly and social yesterday, a huge improvement from how withdrawn he's been. Overall, it was his best day in WEEKS. It's like he can feel the love pouring in. Thank you, thank you!

We got some GOOD NEWS yesterday: his biopsies came back negative for lymphoma! This is a MAJOR relief, and means no chemo for Falcor!

So what went wrong with little Falcor's health? Right now their diagnosis is a 1-2 punch of undiagnosed dental degeneration creating inflammation in his face that led to rhinitis and uveitis (inflammation and swelling in his eyes and nose), combined with colitis, which is basically IBS for dogs and has some factors in common with Crohn's disease. The treatment he's on now targets colitis through a combination of antibiotics and diet. This will be something like his fourth round of antibiotics, so we hope this time, he STAYS healthy.

It's scary because I've seen him improve and bounce back, only to crash a week later and revert to a shaking, extremely ill little doggy who hides away from us in pain. However, this is the closest he's ever been to a real diagnosis. Additionally, a brand new antibiotic arrived in the mail for him yesterday, that was specially formulated by Diamondback Drugs at the request of the WSU teaching hospital. I've attached the doctor's notes if you would like to see more information.

A massive THANK YOU from the bottom of my heart for loving Falcor and stepping in to rescue us both. You've made a giant impact that will never be forgotten.

We've hit our goal, and because there are always fees deducted from any fundraiser, we're going to leave this open at least until the weekend if anyone wants to jump in and add a few bucks. Hopefully by then we'll also be able to report that Falcor is stable and still healthy!

Thank, you, thank you, thank you. <3


Wonder & Falcor
Doctor's notes from WSU
Sweater weather!
Falcor loves you!
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$11,125 of $11,880 goal

Raised by 163 people in 10 months
Created November 6, 2017
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